Posted on December 05 2022
Rafael Nadal has stated that his exhibition match with Casper Ruud, in Mexico City, is ‘most likely’ the last match he will ever play in the country.
Nadal and Ruud marked their final stop in their multi-city tour of Latin America by playing in Mexico City’s Plaza de Toros Monumental de Mexico.
Nadal won the fun and good-spirited contest, 7-6(6) 6-4, in front of 40,000 spectators.
The pair had made four previous stops on their tour, with Nadal getting the better of the world no.3 in three out of four matches. Ruud got the only win over his idle in Quito, Ecuador.
The Spaniard’s win over Ruud seems to signal the final chapter in his career in Mexico as he does not intend to defend his title in Acapulco next year.
“It will most likely be the last time I play in Mexico, Acapulco 2023 is not on my calendar and the 2024 season seems far away,” he told press. “Now is the time to enjoy this moment to the fullest and play in an emblematic setting, with many people and in a country where I have always felt loved.”
The Mallorcan has had great success in Mexico, winning the title in Acapulco four times, with his most recent triumph coming earlier this year. Acapulco was also where he won his first ‘big’ title, in 2005, before going on to win his maiden Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
“When I’m in Mexico I don’t feel like a stranger, I don’t feel like a foreigner, in the end when you’re in a country where we speak the same language and there are more things that unite us, when I arrive here I feel at home,” Nadal said.
“In all the places I have been in the country in Cozumel, Tulum, Playa Mujeres, and Acapulco, I have always been happy. I have always taken good memories of the places, but also of the people, of the food, of everything, and that always encourages me to come back.”
Nadal is one of the most decorated tennis players we have ever seen having won 22 Grand Slam titles, an Olympic gold medal along with many other accolades.
To go with his incredible talent he has his own racket range, the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa, which was released in 2021.
Nadal has worked with Babolat for over 20 years now, transforming it into the brand for players that aspire to be like the Spaniard with high intensity and focus on maximising spin.
Babloat manufactured Pure Aero Rafa focussing has three main technologies, AeroModualr, FSI Spin and Coretex pure feel, giving it that unique selling point.
AeroModular gives the racket a more aerodynamic frame, which allows Nadal to increase his racket speed and spin generation. FSI Spin is said to give Nadal more control over his strings, to help provide the ultimate spin. Finally, Coretex pure feel helps give better vibration dampening.
Sue is player who sees herself as a ‘baseline grinder’, has been playing tennis for 30 years and currently uses a Mantis 300 racket. Whilst Will, who reveals he’s a ‘counterpunching style of player’, has been playing for 15 years and who’s current racket is a Babolat Pure Drive.
“I felt the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa had quite easy power. I wasn’t having to try too hard with my arm and things like that. I was generally timing it quite well which was nice,” said Will.
Sue then stepped up, “As a baseline grinder it felt like I had a lot of control and I could spin the ball, but it did feel quite heavy to manoeuvre around and taking it back.”
Nadal’s spin and intensity is something that Ruud has clearly struggled with on this exhibition tour, as well as on the main tour where he is winless in their three meetings that all happened this.
He will be hoping to change that record in the 2023 season, which both him and Nadal start at the United Cup in Australia.